February 28th, 2016
“I used you as an excuse,” I told Eartha last night. She sat there on the console, watching me pick away pieces of bubbled plastic from the ceiling. “Obviously it was a dumb thing to say. I’m not really sure what I was supposed to do, though.”
She broke her lock on me to follow blackened specks break from the seared cabin and fall into my lap. For a while I had been bouncing around different beach communities, just sleeping wherever. My second night in this spot, I had the back window rolled down to let in fresh air. I thought it was the smell of charred upholstery that woke me up, as occasionally that hot chemical smell does. Instead I saw it was a ten-pound gray tabby sitting on my chest, lowering her neck to stare at my face, as if I were a toy she wasn’t sure worked.
“Dad thinks I hate him.” I stopped picking at the ceiling, working out the extra bits from underneath my nail, then running my fingers together to work off the grit. “Does that make me bad?”
Eartha blinked, that thick blink she does, her eyes slowly closing and opening. If people blinked like she does the expression “in the blink of an eye” would be used to describe how long to boil an egg. She turned towards the window.
“I don’t like Tim,” I said. “Why can’t a straight person hate a gay person without being made to feel homophobic? Dad always looks at me like I hate Tim because he’s gay. Like it has anything to do with it. I feel like gay men look at straight men and just wait for them to be homophobic. Like I have to approve of everything, not just sex stuff, but hairstyles, clothing, movie choices… Every time I say I don’t like something, one of them acts like I’m judging them. They tell me ‘I don’t understand’. Like because I’m straight my opinion is invalid. Tim loves those cooking shows on TV. Loves them. Man has never made dinner once in fifteen years, but if he turns the TV on, he leaves it on cooking crap until he falls asleep. But if I say anything, it’s because ‘straight guys don’t understand cooking shows’. I’m the one who cooked in that house! Until I graduated high school, I was the one who made dinner every night I stayed there.”
Eartha had begun smelling the back of the driver’s seat, where I had bent that girl over the night before.
That girl who had knocked out that guy in front of me.
That girl “spilled” what was left of whiskey bottle into my lap only to be soaked up by what is left of the cushions in my backseat.
That girl who didn’t seem to care what my name was or be very flattered when I asked hers.
After a while of her straddling me across the backseat, after that first bite she sank into my lip and all the ones that followed, my heart rate got away from me. I pushed her off and turned her around, bending her over the driver’s seat. It was defensive at first, I just kept thinking she was about to rip away my skin. But pinned over that chair, her mouth open taking deep, quivering breaths… It was tremendously uncomfortable, stuck between her and the low ceiling. I just kept kissing the back of her neck rather than finding a better position. Somehow she was able to reach down and pull the reclining lever, the seat dropped forward, giving me better leverage. Every time she bit me, my lip, my ear lobes, my neck… Jesus Christ, I thought she knew. I thought she knew who I was and, like that fucking kid, was working up the courage to really bite into me.
How fucked up is that I didn’t care in that moment? God, she tasted so good, I was willing to see where anything went.
But the fear and the excitement had built so sharply in me that the buttons on her pants ripped away as I yanked them halfway down her thighs. I didn’t even think to apologize. I just stepped down with my foot, forcing them to the ground.
As we went, she’d throw the condoms out the back window. It was a reprehensible move in my mind, even drunk and horny enough to fuck a woman I thought was about to eat me. But I wasn’t about to complain about littering.
Afterwards she just lied on top of me, her back against my chest, her legs bent upwards while mine folded against the side of the Bronco. I didn’t think she’d want to be touched, but she pulled my arm across her like a safety belt. “I’m sorry,” I’d said first. “Jesus Christ…” she cut in as I did. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
“Does your dick get soft and turn into a pussy?”
“Does yours?” I asked. She hit me in the ribs with a backwards thrust of her elbow. “I just mean, you were drunk. I shouldn’t have… taken advantage of the situation.”
“It was my idea,” she reminded me.
“Right, but… I just mean, I guess I should have been looking out more for… whatever.”
“Why? You think because I was drinking you raped me? You were drinking. Did you stop to think I was raping you?”
“I try to have a feminist view point.”
“Shut the fuck up or I’ll leave,” she said to me. “You think you’re somehow more responsible than me because you have a penis? You think that alcohol makes me helpless but it makes you irresistible?” I began to open my mouth to respond, “Remember what I said about shutting the fuck up.”
So, I did. We both lied there, sobering up. In the morning she borrowed a pair of gym shorts I bought on sale from Old Navy. I offered to walk her to her car and she reminded me once more to shut the fuck up. I didn’t even get her name.
Eartha doesn’t have a name tag. I just call her that because I think “Eartha Cat” is an awesome name. I never had a cat, though. I’m not even sure why comes around. I don’t feed her. She just comes around and sits, listening to me talk.
Her big, yellow eyes reminded me I had been quiet for some time, thinking about the girl the night before. “I’m sorry,” I said to the cat. “I just saying, Tim’s not a bad guy. I just can’t forget what he did.” It had been my hope that talking it out with Eartha would give me some kind of insight, help me figure out what to say to my Dad to make things better. As my mind returned to the subject, I felt less motivated. “Why should I need to?”
On the plus side: I got a text from that girl from the night before, though I’m not sure how she got my number. Her name is Sam.